Culture Street

While studying for her PhD in chemistry, RITA finalist Lisa Verge Higgins penned twelve romance novels under her maiden name. The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship was her first foray into mainstream women's fiction, followed by One Good Friend Deserves Another. Currently Lisa, an opera loving, novice archer and mother of three, is finding inspiration in women's lives and women's friendships. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and their children. Friendship Makes the Heart Grow Fonder is her most recent release.

LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott

Growing up in New England just like the characters in LITTLE WOMEN, I felt a deep affinity for this Civil War-era story about the March family. The four well-educated but impoverished daughters had rich interior lives, and their coming-of age struggles to find happiness and personal freedom still ring true.  Jo was my idol, of course: A brave, creative young woman who wanted nothing more than to write fabulous stories.

INFIDEL bY Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Fearless women are an inspiration, and there’s plenty of courage in this memoir by Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  The author’s own grandmother forced Ayaan to undergo genital cutting when she was only five years old.  Though she embraced a strict interpretation of Islam initially, Ayaan rebelled at the prospect of an arranged marriage and fled to the Netherlands.  There, she re-educated herself in universal human rights and dignity.  She became a member of the Dutch Parliament and a fiery, outspoken feminist.

WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Brontë

Yes, I know, Heathcliff kills a puppy.  But the creepy atmosphere of the moors!  The repressed passion!  The incredibly complicated point of view!   And it has a gypsy and a ghost.  Every few years I re-read this book and I’m always captivated by the intensity of the story.  It’s a gothic-horror-romance written by a sheltered, nineteenth-century woman in her twenties.  What an imagination.

THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck

Some people say this book is ponderous (You’re thinking about the turtle, right?)  But in high school I read it four times.  Steinbeck’s tale is not just about the Joad family, tenant farmers forced to leave their dustbowl home to seek work in California, it’s also intensely political and grapples with Big Themes like man’s inhumanity to man as well as the saving power of friendship (anyone remember the breastfeeding scene?)  THE GRAPES OF WRATH made me realize that a really good story should always have multiple layers of meaning.

THE GROUP by Mary McCarthy

When THE GROUP was published in 1963, this novel caused such a scandal that it was banned in Australia. The story follows the post-graduation lives of a group of women who all attended Vassar in the 1930s.  The problems they face are strikingly contemporary and range from sexism in the workplace, adultery, work-life balance, choices in child-rearing and even sexual orientation.  THE GROUP espoused a truth that still resonates with me today:  Women of all generations are just trying to figure out the world—it helps if we do it together.

You Might Also Like

Books

Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid

By Helena Whitfield

On April 21, 2014

Books

Dame Helen Mirren to read Audiobook

Dame Halen Mirren is to narrate Beatrix Potter’s rediscovered story The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots.

On May 30, 2016

Books

Debut author Karen M. Davis selects Five Books of Influence

Karen M. Davis is a former police officer and detective with 20 years' experience in the New South Wales Police Force. Karen has seen it all. From a uniform officer...

On July 30, 2013
 

Books

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby

By Sophia Whitfield

On November 17, 2014

Books

Review of Australian Fiction

Since January this year the Review of Australian Fiction has been publishing online two stories every two weeks from Australia's best writers. Matthew Lamb, editor of Review of Australian Fiction, joins us...

On October 3, 2012

Books

Review: Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer

By Sophia Whitfield

On July 9, 2012
 
Copyright © 2012 - 2017 Culture Street
Contact: info@culturestreet.com.au